Heineken announced yesterday that its US subsidiary is to introduce a light beer into the market.

Heineken Premium Light Lager has fewer calories and carbohydrates than the regular brew and will be tested in selected US markets in 2005.

Marc Bolland, member of the executive board of Heineken said: "We are very pleased to present to the US consumers this new lighter tasting Heineken. With Heineken Premium Light, we meet the growing need among the US consumers for higher quality light beer brands that have a premium cachet. This new beer strengthens our growth agenda and will help maximize our participation in the US light beer category."

According to the Beer Institute in the USA, the total size of the American beer market in 2004 was in excess of 249m hectolitres. The light beer segment represented more than 47% of the total beer market in 2004, compared to 44% in 2000.